Proponents of the Central Florida Parkway, a billion dollar loop through eastern Polk County, are meeting on Friday, Jan 21, at the Bartow Municipal Airport to see at what point in the planning process the planning is.
According to a news release from State Rep. John Wood’s office, the meeting will be held at 1 p.m. in the Terminal Building conference room and is expected to draw economic development proponents and local officials.
Also planned is an update on the project from the Florida Department of Transportation, that has been designing parts of the proposed toll road around Winter Haven and east of U.S. 27 and has the rest scheduled for design starting this fiscal year.
“The purpose of the meeting is to gain further knowledge of the project and hold a discussion about the projected project,” the news release stated. Rep. Wood’s staff Monday could provide no further information and Wood was unavailable for comment.
According to earlier reports, Wood appointed the Central Polk Parkway Advocacy Group to keep tabs on the project and spread the word about its potential economic development benefits to East Polk County.
The meeting is expected to include comments from Advocacy Group chairman Dave Carter, comments from Wood and a recap of the project by the Florida Department of Transportation. Carter could not be reached Monday to discuss the meeting.
The open-to-the-public meeting also will be an opportunity for interested citizens to ask questions about the proposed 30-mile project and learn what FDOT’s next steps will be since earlier reports indicate there are no funds available for either right-of-way acquisition or construction.
The massive six-lane project would provide a 10-mile link between the existing Polk Parkway to U.S. 17, and a 30-mile section from State Road 60 east of Bartow north to Interstate 4 near the Polk-Osceola counties line. The limited access highway, according to FDOT, will have interchanges and bridges in a 350-foot right-of-way.
The project is included as a part of the Polk Transportation Planning organization’s 2035 Polk Mobility Vision Plan. It has also been touted as a U.S. 27 reliever that would facilitate operations of the new CSX multi-modal transfer station east of Lake Wales that is scheduled to open later this year.